The idea of the drug store--of the place where medicines that can save lives are locked up with police protection, near you yet apart from you, because otherwise a mob of your fellow citizens would suddenly take hundreds of the most powerful anti diarrheics and give themselves constipation--is, along with many other brazen lies, a seemingly baffling, an intriguing, an offensive component of life here. Like so many other things, from traffic design to traffic regulation, the nuance of the drug store's existence is indicia of occupation by a hostile military which is not only rude and cruel in an offensive way, going far beyond the rudeness that might be effective in a regime for which "chocolate as a controlled substance" is the practice, but in a laughable way, where concern that their antics might be noticed is nil; where the population is so stupid, so subjugated, that there is no need to try to thoroughly dress up moneymaking schemes for the transient guards anymore, because the rabble is just too stupid to care.
Drawing their history from the time when it was vital government policy to ensure that the cocaine reaching the population was of purest quality, the drug stores originated as a drug "cartel," much the same as the embarrassing and costly pornography units now in action in Japan. If you're not familiar with that part of the mocking lunacy of governments of now, it involves government funded "censors" whose job it is to enforce the concealment of drawn genitalia, as opposed to real genitalia. It's ridiculous not only for its own sake, because the process of affecting the final drawing produces laughable results, quite common in ratio: because the drawing might be about a demoness giving a kneeling handjob to some type of herbological devil with a ten foot cock possessing a 1 or 2 foot width, surrounded by thirteen other succubi who are diddling each other and eating baby sandwiches and using guns to please the other women, and the censor's job is to use government funds to ensure that the central demoness' labia lines are sufficiently blurred, and nothing more. Accusations that the "yakuza" control the censorship process and skim a small percentage share from each work have been made, but whether or not it is an organization of some kind of popular acclaim, or just a bunch of greedy old men, are unconfirmed. What is important is that the "stupidity" of the process, the rather insane redirection of tax funds to the process, and the apparent ability of everyday citizens to accept its ongoing existence, indicate something about the people there. More humorously still, the prohibition doesn't exist similarly for actual porn, so the censored picture of the demoness can be distributed next to an uncensored picture of an orphaned teenage woman showing her (actual, real) vulva to the camera without any interference, and if the seeming contradiction is ever realized, it is not realized so fully that anyone demands beheaded legislators or changes to the current law.
The European (some) and American (all) protections for the drug cartels are far stronger and, if it matters, more life threatening and profitable, than the Japanese "drawn human genitals" inanity. The way the "purest cocaine" ruse was extended into what the drug stores use now is, contra the soda counter where purest cocaine etc. could've once been sipped, the drug store is not the preferred situs for gathering, but the holders of a monopoly more dire, often mandatory for the average citizen including those who wouldn't bother with supposed pleasure-drugs. The purveyors of the finest cigarettes and cocaine suddenly, amazingly became guardians of public health by keeping medicines behind armored bulwarks unless you had a proper piece of paper signed unrecognizably by some AMA-affiliate licensee who had bought, for a quarter million dollars and years of unreimbursed busywork, that level of access.
The system of denying medicine to people without doctors' prescriptions was immensely profitable, like, tens of billions of dollars a year profitable. Consider, first, the actual prescription process: medicine as a profession includes so many drugs that even specialists in a field need to use computers to look them up, and if you can meet and not contradict the requirement printed there, and you've shown your insurance card and made your co-pay, the doctor may issue you a prescription permitting you access to one small part of the walled pharmacy. And who is the doctor? The efficacy of a medical education worldwide now relies on the shadowing of a "real" doctor to learn how to pretend to pay attention, how to actually pay attention enough to know what search terms to enter into the handheld computer, and how to say, "We need to get you into a specialist" unless you are the lucky specialist with a much higher salary who has to know what search terms to use on the handheld, but who may, if overtaxed, say "I want another opinion on this" and refer someone to another specialist, provisioning notes to ensure he's already done the searches and knows the state of disagreement in the field and which of three FDA-approved routes of treatment exist and which he is going to pick.
And any person, of course, could use those handhelds, or just the normal public internet, to find all those drugs and their listing of adverse reactions to watch for and side effects and recommended or guaranteed mortal doses and so forth. And the con sold to citizens around the time cocaine and cigarettes were being promoted less to them because it had become, as opposed to government desires, widely known that such things were dangerous and should be avoided (cigarettes held on, but cocaine was looking to do really well in creating anticitizens potent enough to justify the super-profit of America's "anti drug" paramilitaries, while its regulated chem-dipped tobacco may perhaps prove more sustainably profitable in the end).
The con at the beginning went that serious old white men who really knew the drugs would guard against their incorrect usage, and besides the somewhat mortal change in who doctors ethnically and chronologically were, it turned out that smart old white men could misunderstand the handhelds and give someone a killing combination anyway, ergo pharmacies' computers double-check their work of necessity and prevent, automatically, doctors from actually influencing the process. And the said senior honkies couldn't keep up with all of the fields, and so they used things they knew instead of things that the new graduating class knew to be ten times more effective. But, putting that aside, the drug cartel's system was deadly anyway, because if you needed something right now, you couldn't get it without a partner physician's paid approval, and there were substantial economic deterrents to visiting them, and even if you could or would pay the "pricey room" fee for a fast prescription, they might not have the proper specialist on staff there, so you can die waiting,
The implausibility of regulated substances has more than crossed the line at modern cartel outlets, having moved far beyond painkillers, and indeed, beyond anything that could conceivably produce a pleasurable reaction. The joke of "needs physician oversight" is particularly false, beyond hilariously false, in many realms, including the use of police protection and suburban armor to keep people from getting relief from a minor infection with some antibiotic they've used before, even when the FDA's own website sets suggested dosage and limits. The rhetoric of "preventing people from getting dangerous stuff" has evolved over the years to the point of unbelievable rationalizations about market share and profit margins, where someone has to pay the medical industry for permission to take more of the cholesterol drug they've been taking with zero abuse potential (or, of course, actualization) for 20 years. And the doctor, depending on whom they shadowed and when during their unpaid internship, may or may not know what the drug is, but that's okay because it's all accessible through the less-than-google system to which she subscribes, maybe as a solo or maybe through her associated physician network/hospital. Really, it's hilarious how westerners are unaware that their specialist is just googling their cure, as compared to PCPs who can just tell their assistants to refer out to one of the linked specialists over and over. Not to demean doctor salaries themselves, because listening to the irrelevant crap and pretending to care about some remedy that might or might not do anything is a tough enough job, and surgery is hard, and sometimes you have to hustle in the ER, but the entire underpinning of drug access keeps the whole circus running, and there are people, literally, who take the irrevocable step toward death while waiting for some part of the access ritual to be satisfied. And considering the impotent and abuse-impossible things behind the wall, American and European tolerance of keeping all the stuff--not just the stuff that can give you pleasure in exchange for an earlier death or a less-functional life (protecting people from making the choice to take extra narcotics when their back still fucking hurts was and is one of the big lies for prohibiting massively cheaper drugs outside of the pharmacy cartels, as though people won't take more than they're prescribed when it hurts at two AM and like you need someone with twenty years of unpaid education to tell you you're allowed to take the pill after that pickup fell on you during a tire-changing accident)--behind cops and walls, the price-gouging, deathly cruel nature of the beast is obvious.
Like, say, taxes, the seeming stupidity of pharmaceutical laws, combined with the fact that they'll kill you to enforce them, are a dead giveaway of the military occupation. And the bland acceptance of people subjected to those laws are the same. Without censure or conspiracy, the average citizen subject to the laws of pharmacies can know that, if they want to, they can get over-the-counter sleeping pills and take thirty-six of them, or get prescription strength and take merely one, and that putting a certain set of them behind an armored curtain will not change the relevant outcomes. The claim that guns are regulated because they can hurt people is more plausible, since access to a gun greatly increases the ease with which one may commit murder; yet, the pharmacy sham is ridiculous to the extreme, like people would buy antibiotics and take them for pleasure without the requirement of a prescription to get past the suburban fortress and get access to something that cannot get you anything like "high."
The difference between taxes and pharmacy laws deals with death in more direct, personal ways. We all need money to survive, and when the government steals some of it, there is no way to calculate how many people starve or cheat when they would never otherwise (not on the taxes themselves, where everyone does while voting impotently for taxers but at transactions in non-tax life) commit suicide or just give up leading to a later death, but the situation is different with pharmacies, where people don't have the option to respond. So, trying to hold out another month before visiting the ER for a scrip, and as with taxes, there's no way, despite our massive arrogance as expressed in our ridiculous rules, of knowing how many people passed a non-reversible point in their condition while driving to the pharmacy, saving up for the co-pay, or waiting for the right specialist to repeat to them what they already know from Google. The medical industry, or if you prefer profession, has been trying so desperately to stop patients and former patients from sharing their diagnoses and treatments on the internet, but it's a battle they can't win, even with the assistance of their governmental cronies; if people can report on their family's vacation whereabouts to the FBI via Facebook without warrants, and if people can share consumer reviews for products and drive purchases in a way normal ads can't, then some big business will not permit the drug cartels to repress speech about doctors and conditions. Powerful the drug cartels are, but not that powerful, and the income from linked bereavement ads alone is enough to buy away their legislation.
And that's something that physicians need to consider: some of them have started integrating their consultations with "common misconceptions about your condition," but for the moral ones who won't completely take the party line, the entire process of educating young doctors and preparing them to talk to patients needs to begin accepting that most diagnosis can be done by even an idiot with his own computer, and meeting with them, talking to them, has to change, or the profession will become truly irrelevant, in its quest to bolster these last few years of drugs people needed a week ago being kept inaccessible inside suburban forts. There are still many good things about human physicians, including the ability to intuit and draw out symptoms the patient didn't think were important or that were embarrassing et cetera, and those things will be lost with the profession once the drug cartels lose faith in their little degreed accomplices and start charging co-pays for a meeting with a knowledgeable pharmacy touchscreen to learn about someone's condition instead.